National Library Week makes a difference

By: Jessica Peña, Staff Writer

National Library Week was from April 10-16, and Volunteer State Community College celebrated the nationwide event with a week full of activities coordinated in conjunction with the Thigpen Library.

The American Library Association (ALA) that encourages schools and communities to recognize library staff and resources for the work do to make a difference sponsored national Library Week.

Vol State coordinated events like Game Day, Open Mic Day and Secret Cinema as part of Library Week activities.

“Library Week was definitely a success for us this year. Rochelle Center was packed on Game Day with students playing ping-pong and playing games. Secret Cinema was also very popular,” said Laura Sheets, librarian and Instruction Coordinator at the Thigpen Library.

Due to a lack of participants, the Open Mic Day in the Rochelle Center was canceled midway.

“Open Mic was poorly attended, mostly because there were several other events going on that day.

Next year, we’ll take a closer look at the campus schedule and try to pick a better day and time,” said Sheets.

“Yes, we did have to cancel our Open Mic because of lack of participation – as was to be expected when the Student Leadership Luncheon and Speech Competition events were scheduled at the same time,” said Sara Smith, Director of Library Services and Learning Resources.

“As often happens, organizers aren’t particularly aware of other events on campus when they plan their own; and, sometimes guest speakers’ schedules force dates and times of events,” added Smith.

During the week, Thigpen Library had a whiteboard set up so students could express their feelings for the library staff and share what they appreciated most.

“Responses to our ‘Express Yourself’ whiteboard prompt revealed a great appreciation from students for the helpful library staff,” added Smith.

The library staff said they were surprised with what Smith said will go down on her list of most cherished library memories.

“Two of our students made a lovely card for us, obtained signatures from a great number of students and baked us brownies and cookies.

“I’m proud of their success, and I am honored that they felt that the library’s spaces, resources and staff contributed to it,” said Smith.

Olivia Burkeen and Hailey Averitt were those two students.

“I believe we all enjoy being appreciated. So why not let the librarians know that we really appreciate them?

“All in all, it was nothing I can take credit for. The love of Christ is the only one worthy of praise,” said Burkeen.

Averitt and Burkeen will be graduating this spring and are enrolled in nursing schools at Middle Tennessee State University and Cumberland University.

Sheets and Smith both said that was their favorite part about National Library Week and that it was successful this year at Vol State.





Art show displays student work at Vol State


(Pictured: A series of student art pieces at display in the Ramer Great Hall.  Photo by: Gayla Collier.)

By: Gayla Collier, Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College is hosting an annual Student Art Show. Student artwork is on display April 19 – May 1.

“It is an annual Juried Exhibition showcasing work of Art students at Vol State. It is free and open to the public. Over 60 original works of art will be on view at the reception and awards ceremony, April 28, 12:45 – 1:45 p.m.,” according to the Vol State Website.

“We have had an annual Student Art Show since the school art area was founded over 30 years ago,” said Sue Mulcahy, member of the art faculty.

Students that are taking training in Studio Art courses are required to submit work. They submit artworks from each of the media that they study throughout the year. This can include drawing, painting, printmaking, design, graphic design, digital photo and ceramics.

“This year we had 279 entries and 157 artworks were chosen for exhibition. The art is chosen by an outside Juror, who is always and experienced artist and educator. This year’s Juror was Britt Stadig, an established artist in the region working in printmaking calligraphy and mixed media as well as handmade art books,” said Mulcahy.

At previous student art shows the Art Department has awarded five $100 Juror’s awards of Excellence, four $25 materials awards from Plaza Art Supply and three $150 materials scholarships.

“I think it was cool for students to show off their creativity,” said Leandrew Hayes, a Vol State student.

The Juror and art faculty chose all of the award recipients based on quality and creativity of work.

“The show gives students an opportunity to share their work and experience how to prepare an exhibition. They also learn the impact of competitive exhibition and acceptance of success and rejection,” said Mulcahy.

“This show is the capstone of the art program each year,” said Mulcahy.

Early Earth Day celebration a Vol State hit


(Pictured: Earth Day chalk drawing near the Duffer Plaza.  Photo by: Shannon Feaganes.)

By: Shannon Feaganes, Web Editor

On Wednesday, April 20, Volunteer State Community College had an Earth Day event in the Duffer Plaza from 11 – 2 p.m. Team Change sponsored the event.

There were booths set up around the plaza, and at each booth attendees were given a ticket. After an attendee had collected three tickets, they could redeem them for a free lunch of pizza, punch and lemonade.

There was a sidewalk chalk booth, where attendees could draw on the plaza sidewalk. Team Change members had drawn a demonstration of various countries’ ecological footprints.

There was also an adopt-a-stream booth, which encouraged students, local businesses and organizations to adopt local streams, rivers and lakes to manage litter buildup.

Attendees mixed Hummingbird Mix Wildflower Blend with clay and fertilizer to create plant-able pods.

There were seed packets for attendees to take home, including marigolds, daisies and sunflower seeds. At the same booth was paper made from recycled notepaper and seeds. After the paper was used, it could be planted rather than thrown away.

The next booth encouraged students to take the sustainability pledge, which required the completion of at least four activities which reduce energy consumption, including turning off the light when the last person in the room leaves and unplugging/turning off electrical devices when not in use.

“We had more people than last year, and I think it’s because we were actually outside,” said Le-Ellen Dayhuff, Professor of Mathematics, “Over 100 people took the [sustainability] pledge this year.”

Campus police featured a cardboard box labeled “Drug Take Back.” Drug Take Back encouraged students to donate their unused and expired prescription medication to the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office in Gallatin for incineration.

“We get 30 pounds of pills per month,” said Sergeant Keith Bean of the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office. “We incinerate them to keep them from contaminating the water supply and air.”

At 1p.m. the event featured speaker Jeff Barri from the Tennessee Environmental Council, who spoke about sustainability and the Council’s efforts to protect the environment, including the planting of 50,000 trees in Tennessee back in February.

“Sustainability goes hand-in-hand with technology,” said Barri, “We install coir logs, which are a form of biotechnology made from organic material that we install along the banks of rivers where it’s eroding. Most people don’t realize that erosion is actually a large contributor to water pollution.”

Towards the end of the event, Team Change provided over 100 free, small trees to students, including dogwood, redwood, pine, and oak.

Middle College students to graduate this semester

By: Barbara Harmon, Assistant Editor

Eleven Middle College High School students will graduate from Volunteer State Community College before they graduate from high school.

“They will graduate on May 7 from Vol State with associate degrees, and then they will graduate from high school on May 21,” said Betsy Hunter, a principal of MCHS.

This program started two years ago, so this is the first time for this to happen at Vol State.

“These are students that came to us as juniors in high school.

“They’ve taken everything on campus for the last four semesters like a regular college student,” said Hunter.

Sumner County has funded this program for these students.

“To be successful in the Middle College Program, students have to be self-starters.

“They have to be motivated to turn something in. We expect them to be in class every day,” added Hunter.

The Board of Education will be acknowledging these students on May 17 for their accomplishments, said Hunter.

“They are great kids. They’ve worked hard,” included Hunter.

Handicap access at Vol State

By: Shannon Feaganes, Web Editor

If you are not a handicapped student or do not have a family member or friend that is, you probably would not think twice as to whether a college campus has enough handicapped access.

If you park in parking lot N, adjacent to Caudill Hall and the Wood Campus Center at Volunteer State Community College, you might notice that there is no ramp in that parking lot whatsoever. In fact, there aren’t many ramps at Vol State in general.

Imagine that you are the assistant of someone bound to a wheelchair, and you park in that area. There is literally no way to get into Caudill or Wood from that parking lot because there is no ramp. You would have to walk all the way around to the front entrance.

And even if you had the foresight to try to park in the handicapped spots at the front entrance where a ramp is, you have to hope that they are not already taken by other handicapped students, due to a seemingly constant shortage of handicapped parking, and even just parking in general.

I heard that the parking area behind Thigpen Library is to be converted into a green space, so I contacted Will Newman, Senior Director of Plant Operations for Vol State.

“The Tennessee Board of Regents elected to turn the parking area north of the library into a green space to support a pedestrian friendly ‘walking campus,’” said Newman.

Newman assured me that the handicapped spots will be relocated to the north of the Pickel Field House, but my concern is that handicapped students or handicapped guests will have to walk even farther to enter the library from that side – and actually, so will other, able-bodied students.

A “walking campus” might be fine for an able-bodied student, but for students or guests who have trouble with mobility, getting around is very difficult. Being able to complete daily activities such as walking can quickly become a privilege that is out of reach for some of the physically disabled.

I have been told that Vol State is supposed to be making preparations to improve handicapped access in the future, but not in the way that I had hoped.

“As campus grows we plan to add more automatic doors as well as possibly a front ramp access for Ramer,” said Newman.

“Also, as the Master Planning Project takes shape, Plant Operations intends on ensuring accessible sidewalks and parking is addressed.”

“Our office typically gets about two or three accessibility complaints or concerns each year,” said Star Boe, Accommodation and Adaptive Technology Specialist at Vol State.

“We work to address the concern and remediate the issues. Additionally, the Disability Services staff works to proactively identify and address accessibility issues on campus.”

My question is, how would more automated doors and a ramp to the Ramer building remedy the issue with Thigpen parking? What does it do for students who need to park in parking lot N? Or near the library?

At this point, only time will tell if Vol State will become more handicapped-accessible.